Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) was an Indian activist who played a vital role in the Indian independence movement against British rule. He was born in Porbandar, Gujarat into a Hindu Modh family. Gandhi led India in non-violent movements for civil rights and freedom. In India, he is also known as Mahatma Gandhi and Bapu.
Gandhi managed to complete his law education in London and earned a barrister’s degree. Soon after coming back to India, he realized that his barrister’s degree was not a guarantee of a lucrative career. After initial failed attempts at establishing a law practice, he accepted an offer of one year contract as a lawyer from an Indian firm in Natal, South Africa.
Despite arriving on a year contract, he spent the next 21 years living in South Africa. Gandhi quickly exposed to the racial discrimination practiced in South Africa. He continuously attempted to fight segregation and other local issues at all levels there. After his return to India in 1915, he was introduced to several problems that Indians were facing under British rule. He came forward to lead India in its freedom fighting movements in a non-violent way. He was imprisoned too, upon many occasions, but he continued challenging the British rule in India.
He led many movements for civil rights and freedom in India, some of the major ones are Dandi Salt March, Quit India movement and Non-cooperation movement. For his vital role in achieving Swarajya (self-rule) in India, he is considered as the “Father of the Nation”.
Just after few months of India’s Independence, on January 30, 1948, being disappointed by some of Gandhi’s decisions, Nathuram Godse, a Hindu nationalist, assassinated Gandhi by firing three bullets into his chest.
2 October, Gandhi’s birthday, is commemorated in India as Gandhi Jayanti and worldwide as the International Day of Nonviolence.